October 21, 2009 archive

News of Note

UN: For 7th year, warming emissions grew again

BONN, Germany – The industrialized world again in 2007 boosted, rather than reduced, its emissions of global-warming gases, the U.N. reported Wednesday, as international negotiators looked ahead to crucial climate talks in December.

European Union countries did cut their emissions year-to-year, by an average of 1.6 percent, led by Denmark’s 6.1 percent reduction. But the United States, the biggest emitter in this group, increased its emissions by 1.4 percent, and the output of heat-trapping gases by Japan, Canada and Australia also rose, the data show.

Scientists attribute a 0.74-degree Celsius (1.3-degree Fahrenheit) rise in global temperatures in the past century in part to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The warming will severely disrupt the climate, they say, unless emissions are cut back sharply, by at least 80 percent by 2050.

Rush Limbaugh tells environmental reporter to kill himself

Andrew Revkin, The New York Times’ lead environmental reporter, is taking heat. And this time, it’s not global warming.

Controversial conservative talker Rush Limbaugh, a longtime critic of the global warming concept, told the reporter to kill himself during his show Tuesday.

“This guy from The New York Times, if he really thinks that humanity is destroying the planet, humanity is destroying the climate, that human beings in their natural existence are going to cause the extinction of life on Earth — Andrew Revkin,” Limbaugh quipped. “Mr. Revkin, why don’t you just go kill yourself and help the planet by dying?”

On Using Mr. Bullhorn, Or, DC Health Summit Thursday: Come Say Hi…Loudly

It was a long hot August for those who would like to see health care reform, as rabid “Town Hall” protesters proffered visions of public options that would lead to death panels and socialism and government tax collectors with special alien mind control powers that would use sex education and child indoctrination and black helicopters as the means for gay people to impose their dangerous agenda on the innocent, God-fearing citizens of someplace in Mississippi that I’m not likely to ever visit.

Part of the reason that opposition was so rabid was because health care interests were spending millions upon millions of dollars doing…well, doing whatever the opposite of giving a distemper shot to the angry mob might be, anyway.

So wouldn’t it be great if all the CEOs of all those health care interests were to gather at one time and place so you could, shall we say, gently express your own thoughts regarding the issues of reform and public options?

By an amazing coincidence, that’s exactly what’s going to happen Thursday in Washington, DC, as the Patient Centered Primary Care Cooperative (PCPCC) holds its Annual Summit.

Follow along, and I’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Conflict and Excellence

The problem: Before Climate Crisis kills 4 billion people or so and we as the Human Race have to deal with that tragedy, Human Beings need to fundamentally change.

We have to change not just our “lifestyles” but our entire way of thinking about living on a planet, and living with 7 billion other people on that planet.

We have to change from a species that competes with (kills) each other, to a species that cooperates (feeds and cares for) each other.

Fortunately, only a critical mass of human beings need to make this change, not every single one of us. Fortunately as well we don’t have to be perfect in making this change, since Human Beings will never be perfect. (When humans achieve perfection, they cease to be humans, lol)

So let’s think about that for a minute.

In an incredibly short amount of time compared to the rest of the process of human evolution, ENOUGH humans have to change, or at least accept change, to significantly alter the way we react to each other…and the planet.

It is VERY easy to view this as something impossible and to give up hope. I mean, we are talking about going from eight years of a Bushco approach of domination and separation to a whole new paradigm….before it is too late to turn the Climate process around.

This will not happen without conflict.

Random Open

hey ho

I’m exhausted. okay? Wiped. Too tired to explain, and I wouldn’t anyway, so just take my word for it.

I’m really appreciative to all of you who stay on top of the various details of the ongoing battles that involve phonecalling petitions congress white house health care pelosi progressive caucus Whitehouse (the man) bills committees reid rahm axelrod grayson holder slinkerwink obama  health insurance reform wars troops funds wall street terror senators business hedge funds graphs charts pie leahy artic ice and everything else i left out. which is a lot.

i can’t. at least not today.

see? i can’t even work up the energy to capitalize that i.

there is this one thing, though. oh wait, and one other thing too. let me go get it. them.

Grayson: “Bipartisanship is a Weapon of Mass Distraction to keep us from doing what we need to do”

Crossposted at Daily Kos


    “A Democrat with Guts, people think of it like a mythological creature, like a Unicorn.”


    “Bipartisanship is a Weapon of Mass Distraction.”

   ~   Rep. Alan Grayson

    A Democrat with GUTS deserves an electorate that will FIGHT for him. That is how we will encourage more Dems to grow guts and learn how to fight.

    A short transcript and more below the fold.

Movie Review: Miss Julie

At least one major network has recently devoted much time to advancing and promoting women’s rights, and it is in that spirit that I offer this post.  Gender discrimination, in particular, is complicated to the extreme by the fact that gender as a construct is so loosely and inexactly defined.  What constitutes “masculine” as well as “feminine” leaves more than ample room for debate and indeed it varies considerably from person to person.  Moving targets are notoriously difficult to hit.  We might define gender the same way Justice Potter Stewart famously remarked about pornography:  “I know it when I see it.”  Perhaps, but looks can be deceiving.    

Recently I watched the 1951 Swedish film, Miss Julie, which was based on the play of the same name written by August Strindberg.   Strindberg’s tortured psyche and resulting tumultuous love life must certainly have factored in to the equation, as he sees the relationship between men and women as being a combative, loathing affair in which both sexes are driven together only by carnal lust.   The two main characters, Miss Julie and her nominal lover Jean, spend the majority of the film variously exchanging insults, spilling forbidden details of each’s dysfunctional childhood, while desperately striving to keep away the barely concealed desire that so strongly pulls them together.   This, to Strindberg, is what characterizes every romantic pairing at its basest core.  The war between the sexes is just that, war, and a particularly bombastic affair where victory quickly gives way to defeat.

While I might not agree with said statement, I do grant that the playwright does deserve some praise for being ahead of his time to some degree.   Power dynamics, particularly those regarding types of privilege are explored in much detail, especially the means by which gender inequality trumps class distinction and vice versa.   Miss Julie holds power over her working-class, though highly educated lover because her background is aristocratic.   Jean, however, has power over Miss Julie because he is male and is not restrained by upper-class values.   Ironically, the aristocracy is shown to create its own needless restrictions and its own cages, and though the working-classes might have less money or influence, they also live lives of greater freedom than their social betters.   As for Jean and Julie, their flirtation is as much about control as it is about lust, and in it neither character wins the upper hand for very long.   Instead, we the audience are left with a maddeningly unresolved squabble that, by the film’s conclusion, is never really put aside.

As a feminist, however, what I found most appalling is the presentation of Miss Julie’s mother.   She was not a part of the original play and was instead added later by Alf Sjöberg, whose screenplay also fleshed out the character of the count considerably.  A woman who comes across as a sadistic parody of first-wave feminism, her character reads like a laundry list of male privilege paranoia.   For starters, she broaches propriety by being unwilling to get married because she does not wish to be seen as her husband’s property.   Loathe to give birth or to be a mother, she nonetheless becomes pregnant, while plainly hating the child that emerges from her womb.   Her daughter is forced to dress in boy’s clothing, forbidden to play with dolls, or to embrace even the most modest of female gender roles.   All of this is meant, as the playwright asserts, to prove that women are equal to men.   However, these draconian tactics lead to much misery and confusion for the child who finds traditionally male pursuits like hunting or plowing a field either perplexing or impossible.   She is therefore raised as a boy would be, learning the same chores and same societal obligations as would a male offspring, though the implication is that gender role distinctions to some degree exist for a good reason.  The mother’s designs even fall upon the workers of the estate.   Women servants are required to perform men’s work and men servants are required to perform women’s work.   Neither does so competently and before very long the family is nearly penniless.   It is then without much surprise that Sjöberg notes how much Miss Julie’s mother hates, fears, and mistrusts men and seeks to pass along this same perspective to her daughter.  The mother’s belief in radical feminism crosses the line from empowerment into misandry and it is this gross distortion of feminism that still finds its way into modern conservative discourse, particularly in the bluster of Rush Limbaugh’s frequent rantings about so-called femi-nazis.

Returning to the film, it is at this point, unsurprisingly, that the established patriarchy attempts to re-establish control and save the day.  Her husband, Miss Julie’s father, is a well-meaning and kind-hearted count who patiently tolerates his wife’s behavior until he takes a firm look at the balance sheet.   At this point, he insists that a more traditional means of both raising a child and conducting business will be employed.   He liberates his daughter from boy’s clothing, dressing her in what he believes to be gender-appropriate fare.   He arm-twists his wife into a marriage ceremony and exchange of vows, much to her extreme distaste.   However, he fails to take into account her perfidy and bitterness, as she sets fire to the estate, forcing the family to take on more debt and leaving them without a place to live until the Count finds the means to rebuild.  She then suggests that her husband should borrow money from a close personal friend, one that she happens to be having an affair with, no less.   The money borrowed is secretly her own that she has hidden away, but she lies deliberately to entangle her husband into an economic arrangement that could have been otherwise avoided.   The Count discovers what she has done, but due to the insidious nature of the transaction cannot file charges or seek justice.

Strindberg’s own views were frequently perplexing and capricious.   At times in his life he advocated for women’s suffrage but also made misogynistic statements that completely negated his original position.   He was, quite unsurprisingly, married three times, each of which ended in bitter, acrimonious divorce, due in large part to the fact to the fact that he was hypersensitive and highly neurotic.  It is easy for us to come down harshly on those who make anti-feminist statements or who state shocking offensive opinions.   Criticism is always justified, but I try to, as best I can, take into account the circumstances and the state of mind of those who make patently inappropriate public as well as private statements.  Words do matter, as do statements of brazen misogyny and unrepentant sexism, but without excusing such behavior, I do seek to find its root in an effort to formulate a solution.  The past several months have shown a marked uptick in what seems like a perpetual cycle of insults, retorts, charges, counter-charges, and the like.  I know this sort of behavior goes along with the territory but I still wonder about the ultimate impact.  Whether our dialogue is somehow coarser now than before I can’t say and whether our children are more or less inclined to violence is a matter of debate, but the fact remains that so long as we fail to seek a common humanity, we’ll always be at war, not just with our enemies, but also with ourselves.  

Dude! Where’s My Revolution?!


Dude, now like the cat is out of the bag and like we know everyone but ‘conservatives’ and old people just want to have fun, I think you’ll see more top-of-the-line revolutionaries come out of the closet of stonerdom and, you know, not be afraid to have our revolutionary fervor tempered by a joint or two on the way to the big protest march or strategic infrastructure demolition.

Poor Poor Pitiful Harry

Pelosi Prepares To Move Ahead With Robust Public Option

by Brian Beutler last night at TPM, October 20, 2009, 8:09PM

A preliminary analysis from CBO may have sealed the deal. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is preparing to move ahead with a “robust” public option–one that reimburses hospitals and providers at Medicare rates, plus five percent–in the House’s health care bill. She is briefing her caucus about the plan’s savings tonight, and, pending the approval of a sufficient majority of members, will adopt the measure as part of the complete reform package.

The analysis finds the reconstituted House proposal to be deficit neutral, and require less than $900 billion in new spending, over ten years.

The bill remains nominally more expensive than the Senate Finance Committee proposal, but would cover 96 percent of all Americans, providing greater bang for each federal dollar spent. And, aides note, the bill that comes to the floor of the Senate will be a hybrid of the Finance and more expensive HELP Committee bills, so the price is expected to rise.

The move is sure to make progressives ecstatic, and puts Senate leaders, who have been unable to reach any decisions about their preferences for a public option in their own bill, in an uncomfortable position.

Read the whole thing at TPM…

Answers to Everything

The most uplifting video ever.  

A mind opening exercise of galactic proportions.

Why are there pyramids all over the world?

What are the stones of Easter Island for?

Why were the great catherdrals of Europe built where they were built?

What is man’s destiny?

Can you stomach it? They could … and couldn’t.

Midway Island, Oct 2009, Chris Jordan

Courtesy of the camera and work of Chris Jordan, decaying Albatross chicks are sending a message from the Pacific gyre about the plastic footprint that humanity is leaving across the planet.  Chris’ introduction to this searing set of photos:

These photographs of albatross chicks were made just a few weeks ago on Midway Atoll, a tiny stretch of sand and coral near the middle of the North Pacific. The nesting babies are fed bellies-full of plastic by their parents, who soar out over the vast polluted ocean collecting what looks to them like food to bring back to their young. On this diet of human trash, every year tens of thousands of albatross chicks die on Midway from starvation, toxicity, and choking.

To document this phenomenon as faithfully as possible, not a single piece of plastic in any of these photographs was moved, placed, manipulated, arranged, or altered in any way. These images depict the actual stomach contents of baby birds in one of the world’s most remote marine sanctuaries, more than 2000 miles from the nearest continent.

For more, see Midway Journey

Muse in the Morning

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Muse in the Morning

Combing the Hair on a Billiard Ball:

(Click on image for larger view)

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

I know you have talent.  What sometimes is forgotten is that being practical is a talent.  I have a paucity for that sort of talent in many situations, though it turns out that I’m a pretty darn good cook.  🙂  

Let your talent bloom.  You can share it here.  Encourage others to let it bloom inside them as well.

Won’t you share your words or art, your sounds or visions, your thoughts scientific or philosophic, the comedy or tragedy of your days, the stories of doing and making?  And be excellent to one another!

On Losing It

Sooner or later, everybody loses it.  


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